Following Up and Following Down: March 2015

Another month gone. About the only good news is that spring is threatening to arrive in Interior Alaska Real Soon Now. But in a feeble gesture to responsible journalism, WC will end the month with a few follow up items and some items that got overlooked.

Senator Ted Cruz (R, Teabaggery) announced his candidacy for President of these United States. WC broke out in hives at the news. Here’s a fragment of Cruz’s announcement speech, which demonstrates part of the problem:

Imagine, instead of economic stagnation, booming economic growth,” Cruz said. “Imagine young people coming out of school with four, five, six job offers. … Imagine in 2017 a new President signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare. … Imagine a simple flat tax that lets every American fill out his or her taxes on a postcard. … Imagine abolishing the I.R.S. … Imagine a federal government that works to defend the sanctity of human life and to uphold the sacrament of marriage. … Imagine a federal government that protects the right to keep and bear arms of all law-abiding Americans.

To which WC would add, “Imagine a U.S. Constitution written by Christianists, creating a theocracy.” We’ll find out soon enough if the majority of Republicans, like Senator Cruz, aspire to a theocracy.

Governor Sean “Captain Zero” Parnell’s candidate to be a workers’ compensation hearing officer, Paul Pozonsky, had the other shoe drop. You remember Pozonsky? A defrocked Pennsylvania state court judge, who couldn’t explain the disappearance of a quantity of cocaine from his chambers, he had no obvious credentials in workers’ compensation when he was hired for the $80,000 a year job. Captain Zero promised to investigate Pozonsky’s hiring. We’ve never seen the report. But the other foot here is that Pozonsky plead to two misdemeanor counts in return for dismissal of a felony charge. As a part of his plea deal, he doesn’t face jail time. Which is pretty outrageous. If your average con had stolen coke from a courtroom, he’d do some serious time. No double standards here!

Purvi Patel was found guilty of both feticide and child neglect in Indiana back in February. She faces 70 years in jail. A jury deliberated for about 5 hours before reaching averdict. There are no facts supporting either the feticide claim or the neglect. Never mind the legal impossibility that you can commit child neglect and feticide are on the same fetus. It’s hard to neglect a baby you have already been found guilty of killing as a fetus. Truly a bizarre version of double jeopardy. She was sentenced yesterday to 41 years. WC has very low expectations of the Indiana Supreme Court, but you have to think they will call bullshit find error on this one. If the state of Indiana really cared about preventing fetal demise they would ban cigarettes, a common and completely preventable cause of miscarriage. If prosecuting feticide were really the point the Christianist prosecutors would be be looking at stillbirths due to cigarette smoking and obesity.

We were reminded again that as embarrassing as Senator Lisa Murkowski can be at times, she doesn’t hold a candle to the spectacle of Senator Dan Sullivan. His speech to the Alaska Legislature sounded like it came from the political Neolithic era, and had that Teabaggery yearning for a vanished world that never existed. Pretty embarrassing.

Yale economist William Nordhaus has brought a genuinely new idea to the climate debate. Part of the problem in dealing with climate change, in economic terms, is the “free rider” issue. At the risk of oversimplification, the “free rider” problem occurs when nations that bear the immediate costs of measures to protect the climate will experience only a small fraction of the benefits, which are shared by all the people and nations on the planet. Why not just take a “free ride” and let others do the hard work? In a speech to the American Economist Association, Prof. Nordhaus proposed a solution: climate clubs. It’s not as squirrely as it sounds. A climate club would be a group of nations who agree to take necessary remedial measures and, most importantly, impose tariffs on nations that didn’t join the club. There are a lot of details to sort out, and a lot of existing treaties that might have to be abrogated, but it addresses the whinings of the Republicans who object to mitigation efforts because of the short term economic disadvantage to the United States.

And on that hopeful, thoughtful note, WC will move on to April. T.S. Eliot thought it was the cruelest month, but it will have to be pretty dreadful to surpass March.


One thought on “Following Up and Following Down: March 2015

  1. Did you see the recent news that Cruz and wife signed up for ObamaCare due to her change of job status? Sweet.
    Paul Eaglin

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